Sound Libraries: It's OK to buy complete libraries again
Mike Fuller
Issue: September/October 2020

Sound Libraries: It's OK to buy complete libraries again

The old rule of thumb in the library business used to be that if you could find two tracks on a “royalty free” CD, it was worth buying. The logic was simple, there is never any accounting for taste. Clients like what they like, not necessarily what they should have. 

Compact discs are almost a thing of the past, but the idea of buying a volume of music tunes that are related by genre, category or concept is still a good idea, especially combined with the motto, ‘Know your library’. 

Knowing your library means ferreting out every editing post, change of mood or instrumentation. This quite simply makes sound design quicker and easier. This concept extends naturally to small- and medium-sized libraries.

Buying entire music libraries certainly isn’t a new idea, but it is an idea that needed to have the dust blown off it and perhaps reimagined for the digital age. Today, with mega libraries and music aggregators, there are literally millions of tracks to choose from. The problem is, the best search systems — even those with waveform analysis — don’t always find those magic music nuggets that you won’t find by listening to the first three seconds of a selection.  

Know Your Library

First of all, you must have a library. CSS Music ( has 16 libraries with over 450 volumes in aggregate. We don’t sell CDs anymore, but we do offer downloadable virtual CDs called Q-Discs. You can buy one Q-Disc and get 50 percent off on a second.

You can buy a full-service library, like the 70-volume Target Trax library for $495, featuring 70 different slices of life, over 700 base selections and 30-plus categories. It’s not too small or too large. Some might say, “It’s just right.”

CSS offers three file formats: .aif, Apple Lossless and .mp3 320. Yes, we have single selection downloads with all the versions, subscriptions, pre-paid bulk downloads, and even free music for personal YouTube videos. But you can still get good old CD volumes, even a few from the old days.

Mike Fuller is the Founder of CSS Music ( in Los Angeles.